The start of a new year is, traditionally, a time for predictions. With that in mind, here is a look at the future of data centers and, in particular, the emerging trends of 2024.
The five key technological advancements that will shape 2024 are all continuations of technologies that have been gaining momentum over recent years. Over 2024, however, they will make their mark even more strongly. Here is an overview of them.
Server virtualization: Server virtualization is the technology behind software-defined data centers (SDDCs). The key feature of server virtualization is that it enables more than one server operating system to run as a guest on a given physical server host. The benefit of this is that it allows organizations to optimize their use of computing resources. In particular, it allows organizations to implement redundancy without purchasing additional hardware.
Edge computing: Edge computing leverages devices at the network edge to process data. These devices may process all local data or may work in tandem with a cloud. The main benefit of edge computing is that it can significantly reduce processing times. This vastly increases the potential functionality of Internet of Things (smart) devices. If edge computing is used as an alternative to a public cloud, it may also reduce processing costs.
Hybrid cloud: For some organizations, the public cloud is the obvious solution. For other organizations, the private cloud is the obvious solution. For many organizations, however, both public clouds and private clouds offer meaningful and distinct benefits. It therefore makes sense to harness them together as much as possible. In particular, 2024 will see the growth of high-performance multicloud architecture.
Artificial intelligence (AI): AI will continue to revolutionize data center efficiency mainly through predictive analytics. This will be tied to business goals. Looking ahead to 2024, it seems likely that a key goal will be to improve the energy efficiency of data centers. This ties in with both sustainability and economic concerns. Google famously used AI to achieve a 40% reduction in cooling costs. No doubt other businesses will be looking to follow suit.
Automation: Automated troubleshooting and remote management will become ever more essential to data center operations. Its main benefit will be to increase overall efficiency (and hence lower costs). It will also help to improve resilience against future unprecedented events that could make it hard to send humans to data centers (e.g. future pandemics).
Just as technologies keep developing, so too, do the industries that use them. Here are the five key industry shifts that will shape 2024.
Intelligent monitoring: Companies are increasingly using intelligent monitoring to gain insights into data center performance. This year, there will be a greater focus on enhancing predictive capabilities to deliver more effective resource management.
Hyperscale data centers: Hyperscale data centers allow organizations to replace components in modules. Moving to them hence enables organizations to reduce both costs and downtime. It also has the potential to offer unprecedented scalability.
5G network: The 5G network is already here but only in its infancy. Over 2024, it will continue to mature and provide improved speed and reduced latency. Organizations will leverage this to enhance their edge computing infrastructure.
Chip-level security: Organizations will implement chip-level security to help ensure both hardware and software integrity. To begin with, the main benefit of this will be to give servers much more robust protection against low-level malware. Over time, however, chip-level security may be used in other ways.
Green data centers: Arguably, this isn’t really an industry shift. There will, however, be a new level of focus on sustainability. In particular, organizations will be looking to make progress on reducing their carbon footprint and water consumption.
Here are five predictions for data centers in 2024.
Cleaner and greener: There has long been increasing pressure on data center operators to improve the sustainability of data centers. Now that pressure is beginning to be converted into law.
Surge in AI demand: Data centers don’t just use AI themselves, they are used to power AI services for other purposes. Demand for these services looks likely to surge over 2024.
Smarter data center software: Adoption of smarter software was initially slow but is now starting to take off. Despite the lingering risks operators are increasingly willing to leverage software, connectivity, and sensor technologies.
Growth of hyperscale campuses: Hyperscale colocation campuses will reshape data center dynamics in 2024. Connected by high-bandwidth fiber, they will alleviate pressure on traditional hotspots and influence colocation prices.
Make or break for direct liquid cooling: Direct liquid cooling has generated high expectations but experienced slow adoption. What’s more, its impact has been throttled by the fact that it has largely been implemented in parallel with older technologies. This year will be the make-or-break year for this technology.
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